Rude and Crude


How can you soften your communication with your spouse today?

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2, NIV

Speaking with gentleness hasn't always been one of my (Teresa's) strong points. I could be gentle in how I touched, but not always in my words. Many times, my abruptness hurt David and the kids. David even called me "rude and crude" during our early years of marriage. I laughed it off at the time, thinking, That description fits. It shows people I'm strong.

My words often wounded my kids when I corrected them harshly. I used to be almost proud of those harsh words, thinking that I was parenting successfully just because they stopped the misbe¬havior. As our kids got older, they would tease me about how I "cut to the chase" or "got to the bottom line." That was their way of saying Mom's words were often cutting.

I was motivated to change when I began to see myself through my family's eyes and to see the hurt I had caused. My husband shared his hurt and anger about the times he needed my compassion and instead received insensitive comments and harsh responses. I saw how my kids shut me out in anger and were reluctant to share their hearts with me. I know now that they feared my coldness and recoiled in self-protection.

I felt God's gentle voice prompt my heart to make changes in how I talked. He has always been such a gentleman with me, and I asked Him to make not just changes, but drastic changes.

I now take careful assessment—not only of my words, but of my tone of voice, my facial expressions, my eye contact, and my emotional openness. I often ask the Lord to soften my heart and make that softness apparent in my communication with my family.

How can you soften your communication with your spouse today?

Lord, as You show me what I need to change, help me to receive it.

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